Competing for oxygen in the education atmosphere may seem like rocket science, but it’s not. To make the best possible first impression in the marketplace, you just need a targeted PR product launch strategy that positions your product as a win for education.
For new education products, the stakes are high because educators evaluate your product or service with classroom use in mind. Will district decision-makers, educators and students clearly benefit from adopting your products? How you answer this question at launch time will determine marketplace success, and PR can get you there. To craft an effective, engaging launch strategy, be sure to incorporate these core education public relations elements.
Find Your Center of Gravity
The first step towards a successful product launch strategy is to set a sound messaging framework for your product or service. Develop key messages that articulate your product’s function and educational focus, emphasizing what makes it unique among competitors. Answering the five W’s—and one H—is a great start. You also can define your key messages in a S.W.O.T. format that identifies your product’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (competitors).
Having laid a solid foundation, use these core messages to kickstart PR planning. Even if strategic direction shifts as new media opportunities arise, you have established a mission control center.
Optimize Your Spacecraft
Now that you’ve identified the ‘who’ in key messages, you know which audience your product news should reach. The next step is to form a targeted media distribution plan that will launch your product straight into their orbit. The more targeted your media distributions, the better response you will see from potential customers because you delivered relevant content to a place that is convenient for them.
To optimize your message visibility, determine the best venues to reach your target audience – email, social media, broadcast media, specific publications etc. You can download a variety of public relations tools to track which sources your audience uses and how they are engaging with them.
Knowing when to communicate with your audience can boost PR performance as well. Your distribution timeline should reflect optimal times and dates for deploying when your audience is most engaged. This timing can fluctuate depending on what else is occurring in the industry and the seasonality of education selling, which peaks during the beginning months of the year.
Now that you know exactly whom you want to reach and how, it’s time to kick off your messaging. T-minus a final round of fact checking, thorough copyedits and launch!
Houston, We Have Liftoff
As Newton’s Third Law prescribes, the force of your strategic PR distributions will likely be met with an equal and opposite audience reaction. The most engaging period of a product launch comes after the marketplace introduction when target audiences members have questions.
Reactions come in all shapes and sizes, so be prepared for anything, including adversity. Having a thorough crisis communications plan on hand can save your new product from quick ozone burnout if you have processes in place to counter negative commentary.
Of course, you also will want to prepare for celebrating a successful mission, as we did for RealNetworks where we secured coverage in The Wall Street Journal and NBC Nightly News for the launch of its new identity verification product for schools. Be sure to ride the wave of positive coverage that typically accompanies a product launch by sharing big news moments. You also can secure additional media coverage that is unique to new products—like newsletters and product feature sections—so continue to share your story with media outlets. Your shiny new product might still catch their attention, even if they missed the initial blast-off.
Interested in an product launch strategy, but struggling to planet? Drop us a line and we would be happy to help you shoot for the stars.
Did you enjoy this blog? Read more from our public relations category now:
- Journalism Advocacy: 5 Ways to Support Journalists: To support the important work of journalists, here are five ways that everybody can support the industry through journalism advocacy.
- Three Communication Tips When Heading into a Merger or Acquisition: Set your brand up for success when heading into a merger or acquisition in the education industry with this advice.
- We Turned Down a Monthly Forbes.com Column. Here’s Why.: If you think that paying a news organization for the opportunity to publish content sounds suspiciously like advertising, you’re not alone.